6 Tips to Keep Your Computer Safe from Attack This Year

By George Otte

Sadly, the digital world is filled with security threats.

These threats take many forms:

  • Viruses: Just like a biological virus, this type of malware replicates itself inside infected host systems, then moves on to uninfected systems and repeats the process.
  • Trojans: Trojans mimic seemingly legitimate programs, tricking the victim into downloading or installing the malicious software.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware programs lock users out of their own systems unless and until they pay a cryptocurrency ransom.
  • Phishing and Spearphishing: These email- and social media-based attacks mimic seemingly legitimate messages. Usually, the message convinces the user to click a link and enter sensitive information, such as a password or bank account number.
  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: These attacks use a silent intermediary to intercept information sent by the user, including sensitive details such as passwords and financial information.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg. New, novel threats arise just as quickly as cyber security professionals can address them.

In this high-stakes environment, totally failsafe protection is impossible to achieve. A truly motivated, highly capable attacker backed by the full resources of an adversarial nation-state will compromise your computer system if it wishes to do so.

 

“Fortunately, nation-state attacks rarely target individuals. Corporate users with access to substantial financial reserves or valuable intellectual property are more commonly targeted by such actors.” — George Otte

 

Follow these six tips to protect your home computer system against unwanted attack or intrusion by those who wish to do you harm.

1. Complete Recommended or Required Updates in Timely Fashion

Do not put off recommended system and software updates longer than necessary. It’s best to address these action items as soon as you become aware of them, as they’re likely to get lost in your to-do pile with undue delay.

2. Keep Your Firewall On

Under normal circumstances, your operating system’s firewall should always be running. Don’t turn it off without first consulting a computer maintenance professional or your operating system’s developer.

3. Don’t Click Suspicious Links in Email, Even If You Know the Sender

Fight phishing and spearphishing attacks by avoiding suspicious links in emails and direct social media messages. Even if you know the sender, it’s always wise to send a separate email to inquire about the link; their account may be compromised.

4. Regularly Back Up Your Data

Use a cloud-based storage system that regularly, automatically backs up your data to a secure location outside your system. Alternatively, use an external hard drive as a backup. This will come in handy if and when your system is compromised by ransomware or otherwise crippled by attackers.

5. Install a Leading Anti-Virus Suite

Use a reputable, up-to-date anti-malware program that automatically scans your system for threats. Supplement these automatic scans with thorough manual scans as well.

6. Use a Virtual Private Network, Especially When Browsing on Public WiFi Networks

Avoid attacks on public WiFi by using a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you’re away from your home network. VPNs encrypt your device’s outbound traffic, obscuring sensitive data from snoopers.

What are you doing to keep your computer safe from attack this year? Have you tried any of the tips on this checklist?

 

George Otte is a Miami-based entrepreneur and executive with more than 15 years of multifaceted business operations experience.

George Otte Miami Businessman

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George Otte, Miami entrepreneur with more than a decade of multi-faceted business operations experience. He is the founder and chairman of the Otte Polo Group, a diversified firm that does business internationally.

Entrepreneurship runs in Otte’s blood. He founded his first company, a South Florida computer repair and support service called TSS, in 2002 — when he was just 21 years old. He successfully ran TSS while enrolled in college full-time, building a network of more than 100 clients by 2005.

Otte took the next step in his entrepreneurial journey with the acquisition of Geeks on Site, a comprehensive technical support company, in 2006. Throughout the late 2000s, George Otte built Geeks on Site into a premier coast-to-coast provider of on-site tech support, remote computer repair, and other value-added technology services. Geeks on Site now works with local technicians in more than 150 US metro areas.

As Otte’s business grew, he recognized the need to integrate superior customer service with flexible, on-demand product fulfillment. Staying true to his vision, he launched Responsive Call Center, a geographically diverse call center and telephone answering service that provides a range of live call center and answering solutions for clients in healthcare, legal, property management, general contracting and other industries.

Responsive Call Center now has a network of six independent answering businesses operating six different facilities throughout the U.S. and Latin America. As he pursues his vision of building Responsive Call Center into the United States’ top privately held call center and telephone answering service company, Otte continues to look for acquisition opportunities throughout the country.

Shortly after Responsive Call Center was established, George Otte turned his attention to product fulfillment and acquired Fort Myers-based Phase V, a fulfillment and shipping operations center with a diversified portfolio of customers, including work which dates back to the early 1980s.

Under Otte’s expert guidance, Phase V has grown into Florida’s top fulfillment company. Its diverse capabilities include warehousing, flexible order processing and fulfillment, direct mail, and contact services. Otte is committed to expanding Phase V’s innovative fulfillment and business support model to business clients in every corner of the United States and is actively seeking acquisition targets to support his goal.

Both Responsive Call Center and Phase V work with businesses of all sizes, from sole proprietors and small startups that can’t afford in-house fulfillment and answering capabilities to enterprise firms that trust Otte’s companies to provide impeccable service under the most challenging conditions.

George Otte was born in the Lima, Peru area. He moved to Florida with his family at age seven and enjoyed what he calls a “fairly typical American childhood.” Though he has some distant relations in Peru, Florida is home to Otte’s immediate family, business and social networks — and Otte himself. Although he devotes the vast majority of his time to overseeing his successful business ventures, Otte does find some time to relax. His hobbies include boating and fishing in the waters off Miami, spending time at the gym, and traveling to out-of-the-way destinations in Europe and Latin America.

George Otte’s Top 4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your iPad

You bought a new iPad, unwrapped it from that shiny packaging, and are finally ready to take it for a test drive. There’s only one problem: you have no idea what to start. They didn’t offer Tablets 101 when you were in school, at least not in any of the official course catalogs. So what’s a discouraged iPad newbie to do?

First, don’t give up or let your inexperience get you down. As long as you’re willing to do things just a bit differently than in the past, it’s easy to pick up the iPad. And, if you’re willing to learn a few new tricks, iPad mastery is well within your reach — even if “tech savvy” is that last word anyone would use to describe you.

There are more iPad tricks out there than you can shake a stick at. Start with these four favorites of entrepreneur and computer guru George Otte:

  1. Leverage Multitouch Gesture Capabilities

Multitouch what? Yes, like your smartphone, the iPad has a responsive touch screen. That’s great news for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the incredible power of multitouch gesture. You can unlock numerous functions and shortcuts with a few swipes of your finger(s), including:

  • Swipe up from the screen bottom with one finger to reveal frequently used settings and other useful features
  • Swipe upward with four fingers anywhere on the screen to unhide the multitasking bar
  • Pinch four fingers together on the screen to close the app you’re currently working in
  1. Turn Down Your Screen’s Brightness for Longer Battery Life

This one is head-slappingly simple, but often overlooked. Turning down your screen’s brightness can boost your iPad’s battery life by a significant margin — a tremendous benefit on long trips or remote areas.

  1. Swipe to Switch Apps

If you think of your iPad as a rotating app carousel, the swipe-left/swipe-right feature will make more sense. To switch between running apps, simply place four fingers on the screen and move them right (to unlock the app to the “left”) or left (to unlock the app to the “right”). No more closing apps every time you want to switch or dealing with a confusing task bar!

  1. Unlock the Power of Triple Clicking

You’ve heard of double clicking, but what about…triple clicking?

Yep, it’s a thing. On the iPad, at least. Once you turn on triple clicking functionality in your settings menu, you can tap the home button three times and unlock a bevy of cool features. For instance, triple clicking allows you to invert your screen colors (for a striking, super-fun look) or activate your iPad’s VoiceOver function (which provides audible cues as you navigate your operating system). Try it for yourself!

Not the Only Tricks in the iPad Book

As noted, these aren’t the only five iPad tricks in the book. There’s plenty more you can do to get the most out of your sleek new (or refurbished) tablet. If you’re serious about squeezing the most value out of your iPad, don’t hesitate to consult an expert who knows iPads for more guidance. After all, you’ll never know if you don’t ask.